Money Mistake #2 – Thinking that money solves money problems

I remember a day when I didn’t care about where my money went, all I knew was that I wanted more. I assumed that if I had more money all my problems would be solved. Turns out that money doesn’t solve money problems.

Money doesn’t solve money problems

I know it sounds absurd – doesn’t it? But the truth is that just like an alcoholic doesn’t break free from the addiction by drinking more, our money problems don’t go away with more money either. The reason it sometimes appears that they do, is because it can cover them up – for a while.

It you take someone living on a $50,000/year income and give them $10,000 or even a million it will make things seem easier for a while – but that doesn’t mean that they still don’t have money problems. The CFP board did a study a while back and found that nearly 1/3 of all lottery winners ended up going bankrupt. That astounds me. Most of these people aren’t just winning a million, but many millions of dollars only to lose it all over the course of a few years.

The reason, of course is that even though they have money, they still need to get to the root of their money problems.

My money problems

I guess there are a variety of money problems that people can have – lack of diligence, lack of discipline, motivation, etc. But most of the issues that I had in my life and that I have seen in others all come back to just simply caring. I didn’t care about my money before, therefore I didn’t take care of it. Once I got to a difficult enough position that I had to care about my financial health – or I would be facing disaster, things began to change.

Because I was inching close to complete chaos in my financial life, I finally started to care about it a little bit. When things were a mess, but they weren’t affecting my lifestyle too much, I didn’t really think much of it. But when I began to see how close I was to the danger-zone, I just had to start making some changes.

For me, when I reached this point, I began to pay attention to where I spent my money and how I spent it. I stopped complaining that I didn’t have enough, and began to figure out how to make things work with what I did have.

I actually got really touched by the Parable of the Talents… Each one of the stewards listed was given talents based on his ability. This is how God brings increase to us. We prove ourselves faithful with the small things and He gives us more to work with.

I had lived most of my life with my one talent, wanting more talents, complaining about how other guys had more talents, thinking that I deserved more talents, but was still burying the talent I had – or spending it on an entertainment center 😉

Amazingly, and not surprisingly, once I started doing a bit with my talent, I began to get more! Go figure!

  1. Tucker

    Very well said. Many times I find myself making purchases, knowing tomorrow…I will have the money to pay for it. And then tomorrow, I pay for it, but I have added a few more things to pay for, …tomorrow. Discipline is really important!

  2. Ken

    Very true words my friend. I wish I started caring a lot sooner. My goal, like others who blog about money, is to help others learn sooner than I did.

  3. Craig

    Athletes have the same issue as lottery winners. Just because they have all this money at once, doesn’t mean they have the smarts and planning on how to manage it to make it last a lifetime. More money can be good, but can be great if managed properly.

  4. Stephanie

    Great post. I like how Dave Ramsey says that winning with money is about 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. It is so true that if you aren’t faithful with a little, you will not be faithful with much.

  5. Calin

    Good post!

  6. bk document guy

    Bob, you bring to light strong points. I appreciate that you shared your story before discussing what works.